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Melissa tumbled in the midst of chaos. The thunder of feet shattered her ears and trampled the screams which tore from her throat.
A giant mallet flattened her body. Her vision went transparent. She saw the ceiling, and all other sensations were erased.
Then, like an avalanche, the roar returned.
Another blow crunched her body. Again, silence floated across the ceiling. Again, the hellish onslaught returned.
"Negative on a rhythm."
"God damn it! Recharge!"
"Negative on a rhythm."
Blurs shimmered in all corners of Melissa's vision. Legs, she thought. Whirling and whirling. Like a monstrous tide, the weight of sound piled until her bones cracked. Her unending scream drained the last wisp of her breath, yet her body still squeezed as if trying expel the very blood the air would feed.
Then, the slow pound of a stride shook the foundations of the hospital. Coming deep from where the hallways led, a colossal force was coming. Melissa's perception polarized on the approach. Each impact popped her bed from the floor. The curtains swayed.
The universe buckled under the last blow outside the door.
"Charge is up!"
The debrillator clicked, and Melissa jumped in the bed. Strange how the machine could command her muscles when her brain could not.
A supernova of white detonated. In the sudden hush, footsteps swept into the room no longer terrifying, but small and comforting. Still bathed in the brilliance, Melissa met them and merged. She felt the crunch of the tiles beneath her toes. The fear had fled. The footsteps had always been hers.
Dancing, spinning, she exalted in the feel of living legs so quickly forgotten. The thrill sizzled over her awakened skin, and she ran just to feel the air divide.
Mrs. Carr sank to the floor when the frenzy in the room paused, then soured to defeat. Her body shook with the knowledge her daughter was gone.
But then, a sound.
A quick flutter of feet.
She looked overhead, then gasped through the sobs. Footprints on the ceiling. She felt the fragrant breeze, reminiscent of her daughter's perfume. It swirled around her, then washed back into the room. Mrs. Carr peered around the jamb. Melissa passed over the bowed heads and leapt over the curtain rod into the fierce morning light.
As the gentle swish of the curtains settled, Mrs. Carr's wonder tipped into a pained, but unstoppable smile. She remembered how the rich fields bellowed pollen when Melissa ran.
She heard a last echo of laughter as Melissa soared.
And the eternal sunrise sparkled through the depths of her tears.
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